Sports content is the main passion point through which marketers can segment audiences from different ethnic backgrounds. For Hispanics the reigning sport is soccer.“As I look to the Hispanic audience, sports content is one of the leading categories of growth for Yahoo!, with soccer remaining the most important sport in terms of audience and advertising dollars”, says Armando Rodriguez, Director, Head of Sales & Business Development, Yahoo! Hispanic Americas. “Outside of soccer, NFL – especially in Mexico-, boxing, MLB and MMA content are very important channels,” Rodriguez adds.“We see the strongest potentials in MLB, NFL, NBA and Boxing”, notes Jeffrey Zahn, Manager ESPN Deportes Digital Sales.

Huge passion drives engagement by the millions and that is something advertisers, and not surprisingly media properties, love.

“Sports, specifically soccer is a valued past time for Hispanics, both nationally and locally. Soccer allows for a good way for advertisers to relate to the audience and tie in to the cultural importance and interests of the community.”, says Trevor Hansen, CEO of EPMG, a San Diego based Hispanic print advertising placement firm. “Sports play a key role in our program. The obvious reason is that sports programs drive revenue,” notes Mary Zerafa VP.

Integrated Marketing at Impremedia, a publisher of major Hispanic newspapers and websites. Satellite broadcaster Dish is one advertiser Zerafa cites as an example. “Dish had unique challenges for us because Dish is a direct response client. They measure everything!This called for a solution around the 2010 World Cup called “Marcador” which was online based and print supported. Online provided the engagement (via a fan blogging contest) and print provided the high frequency that the client needed.”

Soccer from where?

What soccer do U.S. Hispanics like? European, Brazilian, Mexican?Alexandra Zanic Marketing Manager at Maya Publishing Group, the publisher of monthly magazine Record Fútbol al Máximo, notes that “Mexican soccer is the main passion for most Mexican- Americans, while U.S Major League Soccer is perceived as the new U.S. Hispanic soccer generation.” Soccer United Marketing holds the exclusive commercial rights to Major League Soccer (MLS).

Yahoo's Rodriguez points out that “the biggest trend in Hispanic soccer is globalization – over the past few years interest in European soccer content has grown and does very well due in part to the influx of 'local' Hispanic players on European teams, Spain's recent World Cup victory and stronger competition between regions/countries and leagues.”

In 2011, the main international soccer tournament will be Copa America, Argentina July 1-24, the competition between national teams in South America. According to Luigi Bellizzi, Marketing Manager at Prisa Radio in Miami “Prisa Radio will bring its listeners an extensive top quality coverage of the event. On top of benefiting from the resources of our own network on location, Argentina's Radio Continental, we will build a news center with analysts and journalists who will bring live daily coverage. Prisa Radio's sister unit, Prisa Digital, also counts sports content as one of its primary pillars. “Our sports content is multichannel, but core sports sites like As.com are central to the strategy. El País also houses a sports section. We also have an experience in development for Real Madrid”, says Jorge Mercado Associate VP, Marketing and Communications at Prisa Digital.

The fact that many Latin American stars play in major leagues in Europe provides opportunities to offer creative ways for advertisers to connect with their audiences. Campaigns can center around a star player of a particular nationality. Ad vehicles encompass online, mobile applications, SMS, connected TV, tablets and mobile applications.Online games can also be very engaging. Yahoo! Created an online penalty shootout game to further Engage and draw in consumers. Users spent more than 11.6 million minutes [more than 22 years worth of time] playing the game during the World Cup tournament. The finalists received a trip to Rio to compete in an actual shootout against goalkeeper David Seaman. As an example of sponsored programming Yahoo's Rodriguez cites “La Locura” (offbeat sporting highlights sponsored by Toyota).

Multiplatform

TV continues to be a major vehicle in terms of audience reach and is (still?)By far the main medium used by advertisers to reach Hispanic audiences.While Hispanic TV behemoths Univision and Telemundo play a major Role, both ESPN Deportes and Fox Deportes are important players in the sports category. Multiplatform offerings are crucial: “About half of our ad partners spend across multiple mediums”, says ESPN's Zahn. “For Gillette, we leveraged ESPN Deportes' online, mobile, social and TV assets to encourage fans to vote for the best trade or transfer across soccer, NFL, and MLB.We enhanced the campaign with a consumer Promotion, and will close the campaign with a special show in June to discuss and debate the top trades/transfer finalists,” Zahn adds.

Online Video can go far beyond content used on TV. “We have unique video content online such as Farmer La Liga Confidencial and Ford's LaConexión”. ESPNdeportes.com currently houses a wide range of video clips, including complimenting pieces of ESPN Deportes' many studio shows, and also web specific series like RPM Semanal and Pitazo Final.”

Boxing

The only other sport that captivates U. S. Hispanics as much as soccer is boxing, says Felix Palau, VP of Marketing for Tecate: “We know that 54% of Hispanics are watching boxing, according to an ESPN poll. Last November, to support the Hispanic boxing enthusiast, we created “Tecate Knockout Month” which brings the fan closer to eight separate boxing events across the country featuring headlining marquee fighters, championship bouts and the best from upand- coming stars of the sport.” Another recent agreement aligned beer brand Corona Extra with ESPN's Spanish and English-language boxing content across platforms. The agreement includes fight telecast sponsorship, English and Spanish language inring exposure, digital and print exposure (ESPN Deportes La Revista), and on-site activations.

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